JM | Aug 8, 2022

Jamaica’s failed Commonwealth bid cost over $18 million -OPM

Gavin Riley

Gavin Riley / Our Today

Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith posing in Kigali, Rwanda, the host city of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, which concludes on Saturday, June 25, 2022. (Photo: Twitter @KaminaJSmith)

The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) says the Government spent over $18 million for Kamina Johnson Smith’s failed bid to become Commonwealth Secretary-General.

The OPM, in a statement yesterday (August 7), indicated that of a cumulative J$43.942,443.54 sum, the just over $18 million was spent on solely financing Johnson Smith’s campaign while another $25 million was spent for the massive delegation present at the 2022 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting held in Kigali, Rwanda.

Insisting that Jamaica ran “a clean, transparent [and] principled campaign that met the standards of accountability”, the OPM was upbeat at what it considered “significant and widespread international support” despite losing to incumbent Baroness Patricia Scotland.

While not detailing the costs associated, the Andrew Holness administration said that Johnson Smith’s hefty campaign price tag covered “air and ground transportation, COVID-19 tests, meals and accommodation, PR/Communications support activities for staging of events such as the launch and engagements with delegations (IT support, printing of documents, photography, food and beverages)”.

With respect to costs borne by the Government delegation to Kigali, a cost breakdown was provided only to include the corresponding State-operated entities, namely:

  • Office of the Prime Minister, which paid $12,827,897
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which contributed $7,715,585.37
  • and the Ministry of Tourism, which spent $5,131,386.00

In two instances, the OPM also listed “some assistance” it received from corporate Jamaican companies towards Johnson Smith’s campaign and the retention of US-based firm FINN Partners.

For FINN Partners, however, the Government maintained that it was not “a party to this arrangement” or is liable with regards to the payment of the US$99,000, three-month contract to promote Johnson Smith.

Flags representing Commonwealth countries fly at the Kigali Convention Centre, the venue hosting the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali, Rwanda June 22, 2022. Picture taken June 22, 2022. (REUTERS/Jean Bizimana)

“Despite not having won, Jamaica garnered significant and widespread international support. The contacts made and the opportunities to share views and secure understanding on issues of common concern have served to strengthen bilateral relations and further enhance Jamaica’s reputation as a strong voice on the international stage,” the statement read.


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